New exhibit teaches kids about reflectivity and safety
The Roadway Safety Institute celebrated the grand opening of its safety-themed museum exhibit at The Works Museum in Bloomington, MN, on December 9. The exhibit, a permanent installation at the museum, helps teach kids and their parents how to “be safe and be seen” while walking or biking in the dark.
At the grand opening event, advisory board members, Institute staff, and other stakeholders toured the exhibit along with children visiting the museum. The centerpiece of the exhibit is a dark room where visitors can sit behind the wheel of a “car” while their friends try on reflective clothing to see how visible they would be to drivers at night. Other features of the exhibit are a microscope area for examining reflective materials up close, interpretive signage, engineer and researcher profiles, and a video produced by 3M about the importance of wearing reflective gear for safety. The profiles include those of HumanFIRST principal researcher Nichole Morris; 3M engineer Anne Gold, who develops reflective materials; and Gerald Edwards, founder, CEO, and designer for NSOD Clothing.
In his opening remarks, Institute director Max Donath noted that besides getting the safety message to preteens—and their parents—the exhibit aims to get them excited about technology and transportation topics and eventually, perhaps, transportation careers.
“It’s really important that we get kids to think about transportation safety and then interested in science and technology,” Donath said. “We’re trying to attract a diverse audience into [the transportation field].”
The exhibit was created for the Roadway Safety Institute in partnership with The Works Museum, Nichole Morris, and educational exhibit fabricator KidZibits.
On February 25, RSI staff also participated in the annual Tech Fest event held at The Works. The event, designed to inspire preteens’ interest in engineering and technology, features hands-on activities and demos from the museum and its partners. The Institute hosted a special activity that allowed visitors to create their own reflective road signs and test them in the RSI exhibit’s dark room. More than 800 children and adults attended the event.